Archive for the backstory Category

Writing a Character History

This morning I wrote a scene in which my character thinks about his dead parents, and I had to stop and figure out whether I had mentioned in previous books what happened to them. It was real “duh” moment. My solution—to prevent readers from e-mailing me about “character mistakes”—is to go back and write a character development history. Then keep it updated as I go along. Read more

Why I Put Down a Novel

I start many novels; I finish few. After years of writing, editing, and evaluating works of fiction, I have reader ADD. I read mostly crime/mystery/suspense and some sci-fi, but here’s what makes me put down a book:

  • Slow start with too much day-in-the-life detail or too much backstory (I like it when a novel makes me think Oh shit in the first few pages)
  • Protagonists who do stupid things (especially before I start to like them)
  • Stories that jump back and forth in time for no good reason
  • Characters who have cutsie names or are obsessed with their pets (Sorry!)
  • Detailed gratuitous graphic violence
  • Detailed graphic sex scenes (They’re all gratuitous unless you write erotica)
  • Characters who bicker with their siblings or spouses (I’ve seen a lot of this lately!)
  • Too many characters introduced in the first few pages with no real explanation of who they are
  • Pages and pages with no dialogue
  • Protagonists who engage in immoral acts, like harming an innocent person (I need at least one person to root for)
  • Long, meandering side stories that take me out of the main plot
  • Serial killers (No offense if you write them, I’m just burnt out)

What makes you put down a book?

Five-Time Readers Favorite Award Winner!

LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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